November 11, 2009

Headlines
Key oil figures were distorted by US pressure, says whistleblower
Lugar warns Dems, ‘I don’t see any climate bill … that I can support’
Energy industry well acquainted with Senate lawmakers
Gloomy energy report sets stage for climate talks
Vulnerable countries urge world to cut emissions
Copenhagen climate change summit: The issues
U.N. leader urges Senate to speed up climate effort
US CO2 emissions from fossil fuels seen down
Brazil pledges deep emission cuts
Wind energy in Kansas hampered by lack of power lines
Antarctica’s ice loss helps offset global warming: study
Why giants are fighting for Areva’s power business
Africa’s disappearing wetland – ‘alarming’ greenhouse gas emissions
EPA warns staff lawyers criticizing climate policy
‘Road trains’ get ready to roll in Europe
Solar power to be zapped from space


[click on link below for articles]

News summaries
Key oil figures were distorted by US pressure, says whistleblower

The world is much closer to running out of oil than official estimates
admit, according to a whistleblower at the International Energy Agency
who claims it has been deliberately underplaying a looming shortage for
fear of triggering panic buying. The senior official claims the US has played
an influential role in encouraging the watchdog to underplay the rate of decline
from existing oil fields while overplaying the chances of finding new reserves…
A second senior IEA source, who has now left but was also unwilling to give
his name, said a key rule at the organisation was that it was "imperative
not to anger the Americans" but the fact was that there was not as much
oil in the world as had been admitted. "We have [already] entered the ‘peak oil’ zone.
I think that the situation is really bad," he added. The Guardian
Lugar warns Dems, ‘I don’t see any climate bill … that I can support’
One of the key Republican senators involved in the global warming
debate on Capitol Hill said Tuesday the Senate will have to "start from
scratch" in terms of crafting climate legislation. The Washington Post
Energy industry well acquainted with Senate lawmakers
Oil and gas companies and electric utilities over the past two decades
have poured $8 million into the campaign coffers of lawmakers on the
Senate Finance Committee who could now look to shape climate
legislation. All told, those likely to be affected by climate and
energy legislation for the current election cycle have given nearly
$390,000 to Democrats on the Finance Committee and nearly $251,000 to
Republican members, an E&E analysis of campaign contributions
shows. The New York Times
Gloomy energy report sets stage for climate talks
As the world heads for tough negotiations over a global climate deal
next month, an influential forecasting agency said on Tuesday that
current energy policies were not sustainable, and that a vast
transformation of energy use was required to fend off the worst
consequences of global warming. The New York Times
Vulnerable countries urge world to cut emissions
A group of 11 countries vulnerable to adverse effects of global warming
urged world leaders Tuesday to reach a binding agreement at next
month’s global conference on the issue. AP
Copenhagen climate change summit: The issues
The UN meeting is the deadline for thrashing out a successor to the
Kyoto protocol, with the aim of preventing dangerous global warming. It
will run for two weeks from 7 December and is the latest in a series
that trace their origins to the 1992 Earth summit in Rio…Negotiations
held last week in Barcelona were grim: all now acknowledge that no
legal deal is possible in Copenhagen. A miracle is needed for a
triumph. President Barack Obama is the one who could deliver it, but it
is very unlikely. Most likely is a hopeful fudge in which all parties
remain on speaking terms and seal the deal in 2010. A total collapse
would leave 20 years’ of negotiations in tatters and the world
unprotected against the ravages of global warming. It is also unlikely,
but not as unlikely as a miracle. The Guardian
U.N. leader urges Senate to speed up climate effort
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon met with Senate
Republicans and Democrats on Tuesday and urged them to save
international climate talks next month by speeding up work on a climate
and energy bill. McClatchy
US CO2 emissions from fossil fuels seen down
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said Tuesday that it expects
the country’s emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil
fuels to fall 5.6% this year. "Changes in energy consumption in the
industrial sector, a result of the weak economy, and changes in
electricity generation sources are the primary reasons for the decline
in CO2 emissions," the EIA said in its Short-Term Energy Outlook Carbon
dioxide emissions are expected to creep back up by 1.5% next year, as
the economy improves and fossil-fuel consumption rises. The Wall Street Journal
Brazil pledges deep emission cuts
Brazil will take proposals for voluntary reductions of 38-42% by 2020
to the Copenhagen climate change conference next month, chief of staff
says. The Guardian
Wind energy in Kansas hampered by lack of power lines
Driving through western Kansas, you’ll see hundreds of whirling wind
turbines. But you won’t see lots of people — or high-voltage power
lines. And that is the big obstacle to realizing the wind-energy
potential of Kansas and the Midwest: You can put up all the towers and
turbines you like, but without more transmission lines, the added
electricity won’t get to the cities that could use it. The Kansas City Star
Antarctica’s ice loss helps offset global warming: study
Global warming has been blamed for the alarming loss of ice shelves
in Antarctica, but a new study says newly-exposed areas of sea are now
soaking up some of the carbon gas that causes the problem. Scientists
led by Lloyd Peck of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) said that
atmospheric and ocean carbon is being gobbled up by microscopic marine
plants called phytoplankton, which float near the surface. Terra Daily
Why giants are fighting for Areva’s power business
The battle shaping up over Areva’s transmission division shows just how
big a part of the world’s energy future lies in a crucial, if boring,
corner of the business…Areva’s transmission business makes the
nuts-and-bolts gear for electricity transmission and distribution, and
is one of the three global giants, alongside Siemens and ABB. That’s
the main reason GE, Toshiba, and Alstom want in the game: Transmission
is literally the backbone of the world’s electricity future, and
Areva’s unit is one of the truly big boys. Environmental Capital
Africa’s disappearing wetland – ‘alarming’ greenhouse gas emissions
Wetlands International, has found that Africa is also producing
significant carbon dioxide emissions. But these emissions are not
coming from the continent’s industrial sector. They are produced as a
result of Africa’s vanishing wetlands areas…Wetlands areas, such as peat
bogs, have stored enormous amounts of organic carbon for thousands of
years. But wetlands zones are increasingly drained for agricultural or
logging purposes. The stored carbon then reacts with oxygen, producing
carbon dioxide, one of the most important greenhouse gases contributing
to climate change. VOA
EPA warns staff lawyers criticizing climate policy
The Environmental Protection Agency has directed two of its lawyers to
makes changes to a YouTube video they posted that is critical of the
Obama administration’s climate change policy. The video, titled “The
Huge Mistake,” was produced and posted in September. Ms. Williams and
Mr. Zabel say cap and trade, in which the government sets a limit on
gases that contribute to global warming and then lets companies trade
permits to meet it, can be easily gamed by industry and fail to reduce
the emissions linked to global warming. The New York Times
‘Road trains’ get ready to roll in Europe
Road trains that link vehicles together using wireless sensors could
soon be on European roads. An EU-financed research project is looking
at inexpensive ways of getting vehicles to travel in a ‘platoon’ on
Europe’s motorways. Each road train could include up to eight separate
vehicles – cars, buses and trucks will be mixed in each one. The EU hopes
to cut fuel consumption, journey times and congestion by linking vehicles
together. Early work on the idea suggests that fuel consumption could
be cut by 20% among those cars and trucks travelling behind the lead
vehicle. BBC News
Solar power to be zapped from space
Japan’s government has picked companies and researchers to turn the
multi-billion dollar dream of unlimited clean energy into reality by
2030. The Space Solar Power System involves an array of photovoltaic
dishes reaching across several square miles that hover in geostationary
orbit outside the Earth’s atmosphere. ENN